Columbia authors continue momentum with series and readings

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Strain your ears just enough and you might hear the sound of book bindings creasing through Columbia. With students and teachers fully back to work, the city’s page count is on the rise.

But Columbia’s large literary community never takes a season, and a number of current and upcoming local events show the fruit of that progress.

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Hodgson publishes the second book in the “Androgyne Papyrus” series

Columbia author Robert Hodgson Jr. tells a full story before he even reaches the front page of his ongoing mystery series. Hodgson previously taught New Testament literature at Missouri State University and spent decades working with the American Bible Society.

He also holds a delightful distinction as the first Roman Catholic to earn a doctorate from Germany’s Heidelberg University “since the Reformation,” his author biography notes.

Hodgson applies these interests – and his clear and abiding curiosity – to his “Tom and Chiara” mystery series. The first, “The Androgyne Papyrus: Book One,” hit the air in February, setting the stage for what’s to come.

The story opens with a veritable book of revelation – a lost letter from the apostle Paul muddies the waters of orthodoxy, gender, church authority and more by claiming “a mixture of man and woman” in each person.

“He barely speaks it,” whispers an elderly monk, summarizing the book to another on a first page. “We are all… Adam and Eve.”

The story turns into a paper hunt with various authorities interested in the book, with titular protagonists Tom Weathering and Chiara O’Keeffe seeking answers from the text and implications about Jesus’ personality shrouded in the mix.

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Hodgson acts as both artist and sage in this work of historical fiction, uniting the lyrical phrasing with the small details necessary to flesh out bygone eras. The second book is out this month, and Hodgson hopes to drop the third book, the series finale, by the end of the year.

Current and Upcoming Book Events

Berkeley Hudson, professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Missouri, took a nuanced and necessary look at his Mississippi home in the book “ON Pruitt’s Possum Town: Photographing Trouble and Resilience in the American South.” The volume sifts through more than 88,000 negatives by photographer Otis Pruitt to create a portrait of where Hudson grew up. While Hudson has already hosted several local events around the book, images from the Pruitt collection can be seen through early November in exhibits at the State Historical Society of Missouri and MU’s Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Daniel Boone Regional Library is about to embark on a full September of events around this year’s One Read title, “The Big Door Prize” by MO Walsh. The novel immerses readers in a small town in Louisiana, asking questions about individual destiny and community ties when a machine claims to tell the potential of every user who enters it. Learn more about the events at https://oneread.dbrl.org/, and look for more coverage in the Tribune in September.

"Iguana Iguana"

Caylin Capra-Thomas and S.Yarberry, both poets with new work via publisher Deep Vellum will be read at Skylark Bookshop on September 1. perspective.”

Also on deck at Skylark: a reading from the MU professor and poet Huichun Liang September 8; a launch event for the poet Columbia Lynne Jensen Lamps “Talk Smack to a Hurricane” Sept. 22; and a celebration of the local author by Stephen Paul Sayers “100 things to do in Colombia before you die” September 29.

Learn more about these and other events at https://www.skylarkbookshop.com/new-events.

Aarik Danielsen is the Features and Culture Editor for Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.


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